Sidmouth’s �1.8million Folkweek boost

SIDMOUTH FolkWeek saw more than �1.8million spent in the town, organisers have revealed.

SIDMOUTH FolkWeek saw more than �1.8million spent in the town, organisers have revealed.

Reviewing this year’s festivities, driving forces hailed “overwhelmingly enthusiastic” feedback and have given a glimpse of their plans for 2011.

Festival director John Braithwaite thanked local businesses, organisations and councils for their support and said the landmark week of folk fun boosted towns around the region.

“We’re extremely pleased with the way the festival went this year,” he said. “The atmosphere in the town, the support of the local residents and the quality of the music and dance all made their contribution.”

Mr Braithwaite said a 2010 audience survey, based on the amount festival-goers said that they spent during the week, revealed total expenditure in town businesses, excluding tickets, was at least �1.8million.

He added hotels and other accommodation were at capacity, with festival-goers staying out as far as Ottery, Budleigh and Lyme Regis.

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A business sponsorship scheme, introduced this year, was hailed a success with more invited to join in.

FolkWeek artistic and marketing director Joan Crump hailed numerous complimentary reviews of the festival, including a five-star triumph in The Guardian.

She said: “Sidmouth continues to be one of the most significant and respected festivals on both the national and international stage.”

A major festival concert success, “In Search of Nic Jones”, will now feature at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre in May 2011.

“The Southbank actually approached us about re-staging the show and they also want to talk to us about further co-productions,” said Joan. “The concert will be billed ‘in association with Sidmouth Folk Week’”

Suggestions made by festival-goers will be considered by festival organisers planning next year’s event.

They have promised the social dance programme will be improved, along with the range of events offered in the family and young Sidmouth programme. There will be further improvements to the Ham Marquee and Hub area at Port Royal.

The festival campsite will be enhanced and opportunities for recycling and making the festival ‘greener’ are also being explored.

Organisers are working on a new website and online box office system, both of which will be up and running by the end of the year.

The first announcement on guests for 2011 is expected in the next few weeks.